Thursday, 28 November 2013

Passage to Bahia Santa Maria

Anchored in Bahia Santa Maria

We are now anchored in Bahia Santa Maria, about 3/4 down the length of the Baja peninsula.

The passage was 2.5 days and 2 nights. We had planned to stop on the second day in Abreojos, and indeed were very close to there in the late morning. But we decided we didn't like what seemed like a rolly anchorage*, so abandoned and turned straight to Bahia Santa Maria. So, a 2nd night at sea. (*Turns out the Abreojos anchorage is full of traps and long lines, and was rolly in the morning.)

For some reason, we found this passage more tiring, especially David, even though we had no real difficulties. We sailed all but 13 hrs of the trip.

We arrived Bahia Santa Maria just before dark, thereby missing lobster traps etc. We were the only boat in the anchorage. (Another boat came in later in the dark.)

Next day, in the sun, 3 more boats arrived.

We have ~180 nm to go to get to Cabo San Lucas. Winds, unfortunately, are forecast to be too light for several days, so maybe we will finally motor the majority of a passage.

Boats at Santa Maria (photo from SV Confidence blog)

Pelagia at Santa Maria (photo from SV Confidence blog)

Four days in Turtle Bay

We ended spending 4 nights in Turtle Bay. A couple days recovery (from our passage), a day for pouring rain, and a day in the sun prepping for our next passage.

Turtle Bay anchorage

"Downtown" Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay is a great anchorage; the village, well,rather dusty/muddy and ramshackle. Several tienda (stores) so some provisions can be obtained, including meat. All but one of our interactions with the locals were quite pleasant. (The one negative was with Enrique Jr., who runs the fuel dock: he scolded David for giving a small tip to the little kids who helped him carry water jugs to the dock. Given Enrique shorted us on our fuel purchase, he gets no respect from David.)

Turtle Bay's "moonscape"

Next stop?
(turns out it is Bahia Santa Maria)

Cruising boats in Turtle Bay: SV Confidence, SV Marova, SV Remember Me

Friday, 22 November 2013

Passage south to Turtle Bay

We are now in Turtle Bay, approximately halfway down the Baja Peninsula. (Half way to Cabo!)

Leaving Ensenada

We left Ensenada about noon on Monday, and arrived Turtle Bay, in the dark, at about 9pm Wednesday. Our passage was almost entirely under sail, with 15-25 kn winds behind us. Seas were often quite boisterous (translation: we were tossed around quite a lot). During the night, we each took 3-hr-long shifts while the other tried to sleep. Day time was more fluid, but we often tried to grab some sleep then to make it easier during the night.

Nightime sailing is far far better than nighttime motoring. (And daytime sailing is far far better than daytime motoring....)

Approaching Cedros Island at dawn

We were pretty tired -- think, jetlag -- on our first day in Turtle Bay.  David did get ashore to help Dave from SV Confidence (they arrived the day before us) find a welder to fix a piece broken on his Monitor windvane. Turtle Bay village is very spread out and very dusty and windblown. Dave was successful in getting the part welded -- still waiting to hear if it worked.

Last night a weather system came in, and it has been pouring rain since the wee hours of the morning. More like a B.C. weather day. It is now 12 noon and it is still pouring. Not sure if we will get off the boat today or not.

Next sail is either to Bahia Santa Maria (2 nights and 2 days), with perhaps a stop in-between, depending upon winds. We may leave tomorrow (Saturday).

Enjoyed Ensenada!

We stayed 11 nights in Ensenada -- far more than we had expected. That's
because we really liked Ensenada, our marina (Cruiseport Village), and
the relaxing time they gave us. It was also good to have friends in town
(SV Confidence and SV Marova), both boats getting work done at Baja Naval.

We had particularly good times at Hussong's Cantina, an Ensenada
landmark since the 1800s. David last visited in the 80s, and it remains
a great place for drinks and mariachi music. The three times we were
there, the cantina was filled with mostly Mexicans, many loudly singing
traditional songs as the mariachi band(s) played. Great fun.

Eventually, we had to move on, for a 3+ day passage to Turtle Bay, where
we are now.

Cruising boats in Ensenada: SV Marova, SV Confidence, SV Green Panther

Friday, 15 November 2013

Entering Mexico: what it cost (Nov. 2013)

For those planning to enter in at Ensenada -- here is what we paid for a 40 ft (registered length) <= 20-ton boat:

Visa (180 days): 295 MXN per person (x 2 persons)
Port fees: 227 MXN
Temporary Importation Permit (TIP): 672.83 MXN
Fishing License (annual permit for 1 person*): 553 MXN

Total: 2044.33 MXN (about C$169)

We had significant help from our Cruiseport Marina agent (Enrique), including rides to/from the CIS offices -- there did not seem to be any extra charge for this (though Enrique certainly deserves a good tip).

* Buying only one fishing license differs from all of the recommendations. However, we have only one fishing rod and only one of us would fish. The SAGARPA fishing license officials agreed that only one license was required, as we had "solo uno pescador" on board.
UPDATE (from La Paz): despite what we were told by the SAGARPA folks in Ensenada, we have been convinced here in La Paz (and by the SAGARPA San Diego website) that we should get licenses for both of us. Besides, it is very likely that Mexican Navy guys checking us would expect both to have a license.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

"Mañana..." and our adventure with Aduanas Mexico

We had timed our arrival in Ensenada for early Thursday morning -- we arrived 7:30am -- so that we would have time for the 2-3 hours required for immigration clearance/paperwork etc. We met Cruiseport Marina's agent at 8:30am to start the process. However, we were told "Port Captain is too busy today... we'll go mañana".  So, we agreed to meet Friday morning.

Friday morning: "Port Captain closes early today and everything very busy at CIS" (where immigration, port captain, customs, fishing license, and the Banjercito bank are all located in one place -- apparently one of only two ports in Mexico with this). "We will do it Monday morning".

OK, so we'll be illegal aliens for a few more days. Supposedly, no-one cares (turns out this is not true, but we encountered no issues with this*).

Monday morning, it turns out that the same had been said to many other boats. To top it off, our marina had only one agent to help. (However, Enrique proved to be excellent.) We were shuttled off to CIS -- we were lucky (?) to be first in line from our marina. CIS was very busy (huh? I thought last week was the busy week) -- lots of boats put off to Monday.

All went well, especially with the help of Enrique. Then it was time for David to push the red light/green light at customs (anyone who has flown into Mexico will recall these stoplights -- supposedly they are random, and getting a "Green" means you are clear to pass; "Red" means ??). Of course, as David pushes the button, the red flashes and a very loud buzzer goes off. Everyone turns to see who was the unlucky one, staring at David.

What it meant was that customs had to come down to the boat to inspect it. We had to wait a while until a customs officer was available and Enrique called a driver. Now, we could say that Pelagia was thoroughly searched; indeed, torn apart. We could say the customs confiscated our wine and spirits and all our food. But, in reality, our customs officer turned out to be a very relaxed young woman who joked with our driver and Enrique, who came to the boat but never stepped on to it. She asked no questions but only wanted a photo of our Hull Identification Number (she asked David to take the photo) and one photo of the boat. She asked not a single question. It was all very pleasant (well, except for David worrying after the red light/buzzer went off).

To top it off, because of our extra customs visit, we got back to the boat faster than anyone else.

* One boat was told they had to pay a US$300 fine, but this eventually dropped to $0 when they objected, saying the marina told them to wait.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Adios USA; Hola Mexico!

After an overnight motor (yes, that's right, David missed the winds again), we are now at the dock in Ensenada. We made it to Mexico!

(Can we come home now? Just kidding....)

Excitement last night came in the form of a stealth boat roaring up to us in the pitch-black night at 11:30 pm. No lights and amazingly no radar image, just a loud roar and big wake. "David, get out here!!" Michelle yelled as he snoozed up forward -- she was thinking "pirates". Nope, just the Mexican Navy shining their spotlight on us (from perhaps 20 feet off our stern), checking us out. Guess they saw David's friendly wave (and that we were a yacht), as they roared away.

Probably be here a week. The fish (and shrimp, and...) tacos are to die for! Really glad to have finally made it to Mexico!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

VANCOUVER to SAN FRANCISCO & S. CALIFORNIA: Pelagia's route (August - October, 2013)

We would NOT recommend going out so far (70-100 nm) off of Oregon/Northern California. Weather was MUCH better closer to shore (<20 nm). As a compromise, perhaps stay between 30-50 nm offshore so that one can go in closer depending on the weather forecast.